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Protest Rally Outside Parliament
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 25 May.'11 / 18:46

A view of the protest rally outside the Parliament through a fence erected by the protesters on the Rustaveli Avenue on May 25. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

Protesters occupied on May 25 an area outside the Parliament on Rustaveli Avenue and blocked the street with fences from the both sides of the protest venue – the site of the planned military parade to mark the Independence Day on Thursday morning.

The People’s Assembly, an opposition movement behind the rallies led by ex-parliamentary speaker Nino Burjanadze, announced at a rally that they would stay outside the Parliament all night long not to let the authorities hold a military parade next morning.

Fence installed by the protesters on the Rustaveli Avenue on May 25. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

“We should stay here for 16 or 15 more hours, so that Saakashvili fails to review the military parade,” Nino Burjanadze told the protesters. “We should show endurance and stay here. We should keep vigil this night.”

Officials from the Georgian authorities say there is no intention to call off the planned parade.

Protesters outside the Parliament, May 25. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

“We do not rule out that the authorities will try to break up the rally,” Irakli Batiashvili, one of the key figures in the People’s Assembly, said.

The decision to hold a rally outside the Parliament was not announced in advance by the People’s Assembly. The announced initial plan involved marching from the Kostava Street – a previous protest venue – towards the Freedom Square, about 300 meters from the Parliament building, and holding rally there.

Protesters outside the Parliament, May 25. Photo: Guram Muradov/Civil.ge

About hour and half after the protesters occupied the area outside the Parliament, the Interior Ministry released, what it said was, a secretly recorded video footage, purportedly showing some protesters trying to recruit men for potential use of Molotov cocktails.

Doors of the Parliament have been reinforced with girders from inside in an apparent attempt to withstand if crowd tries to push and open the doors.

Meanwhile, several scuffles occurred at the protest venue. There have been chaotic scenes with young men, some with large white plastic sticks, fighting and beating each other. Protesters have blamed “provocateurs” of inciting the scuffle.

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